The U.S. Open 2015

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Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled to NYC for a long weekend to visit Bridgette and Rob. One of the absolute highlights was going to THE US OPEN!!!! I am trying to not overuse exclamation points and writing in all caps in this post, but I think my face in the picture above says it all. I was so unbelievably excited to be there!!!We procured tickets months ago on the day they went on sale, and I’m so happy we grabbed grounds passes for the first Saturday evening of play.

Bridgette and I grew up as avid tennis players, and I started playing when I was five years old. We both played almost daily from then through high school, and tennis has long been my very favorite sport! Bridgette and I grew up playing on various tennis teams, competing and traveling, and we were even doubles partners for two years in high school! (Sistah Scholl) I’m not much of an athlete when it comes to other sports, but I was (and still am, sorta!) quite good at tennis. And I love it so much!! Every year, year after year, we’ve watched the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open (sorry, Australian Open, I always forget about you!), and it used to be a dream of mine to play at Wimbledon. I think it’s safe to say the time has passed for me to be a Wimbledon champion, but that’s okay! It was, however, still a dream to go to the Grand Slam tournaments, and I’m so glad that this year I finally made that dream a reality. Wimbledon and the French Open, I’m still working on getting to see you in person, too!

Needless to say, I was like a child on Christmas morning over Labor Day weekend when it was finally time to go out to Flushing Meadows to see the US Open in person! I apologized to Rob about by extreme giddiness that day, but I think he was pretty excited, too. Despite a little miscommunication with the policy of when we could actually enter the gates (some people told us the wrong info…), we were more than thrilled when we could finally enter the grounds at the US Open on Saturday evening!!! We didn’t have as much time to explore and wander and soak it all in as I would have liked, but we learned our lesson for next time (yes, there will be a next time, and that time we’ll know: Saturday grounds pass + Saturday evening ticketed seats).

And boy was it amazing!!! Really, I had so many ‘pinch me’ moments! There was great food and drinks, excited people everywhere, huge screens of some great matches that stretched on, and I loved being surrounded by so many people who love tennis and all of these athletes as much as I do! The grounds and the stadium are really beautiful, and there’s so much to see and do. I loved seeing the huge globe that’s quintessential to the US Open, we found some cute Nike apparel and branded t-shirts to take home, and we were even on TV! Yes! We were right behind Chris Evert (THE Chris Evert) as she aired live at the US Open, and my parents definitely saw us on TV (and recorded it!).

Inside Arthur Ashe stadium, the biggest stadium, we were able to see an evening women’s match and a men’s match. The highlight was watching Andy Murray play!!! I’ve loved Andy for years, and it was surreal watching him play in person. And he won! We were pretty high up, but we still could see so well. I was impressed with the size of the stadium (and it’s so pretty!), the views that we had, and just how electrifying it was to be there. I don’t think a giddy grin left my face the whole time!

I’m so, so happy the three of us were able to go to the US Open this year, and it was an incredible day, for sure. I already am plotting to come back again next year. It was amazing seeing something in real life that you’ve followed along on TV with for over two decades, and I loved being able to share that day with Bridgette and Rob!!

New York City Vacation

Long weekends are the best, aren’t they? Well, they’re even better when you extend a long weekend to make it even longer… and travel to NYC to visit your sister and brother-in-law! Over Labor Day weekend, I flew up to the city for five full days of fun with two of my very favorite people in the universe! Despite a 3:30am wake-up (seriously), I was overjoyed to arrive at their apartment by 8am to kick-off our long weekend together. Bridgette and I are huge fans of itineraries and making plans/reservations, but we equally love to leave enough room in our itinerary to relax and be spontaneous. You know it’s going to be a good trip when 1. your sister sends you an extensive Google doc filled with all of your favorite things to do/see/eat/explore in NYC and 2. you get to do all of these fabulous things with two of your favorite people. Needless to say, I was oh-so-excited about this trip!!!

Bridgette and Rob are pretty ecstatic to be living back in NYC, and their adventures are wonderfully chronicled in Bridgette’s blog, Let Love Guide Us. If you need any NYC (or Charlottesville or South Africa or Iceland, etc etc) travel advice, tips, adventures, or itineraries, you don’t want to miss out on her amazing blog. Just sayin’!

Bridgette and I kicked off of Friday fun with THE most epic, beautiful, wonderful picnic in Central Park. I’m not really kidding when I say that picnics are my love language, and when it’s a picnic filled with my best friend, gorgeous cooler weather, a setting in Central Park overlooking a pond and castle and willow trees, rose wine, lemon feta dip, baguette and crackers, brie and goat cheese, prosciutto, and strawberries… well, perfection. Oh, and macrons to top it all off. Why yes, it was the most idyllic few hours chatting with Bridgette and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Once Rob was off work, we headed to the Met to explore some of their favorite exhibits and galleries. It’s such a grandiose museum (and was surprisingly busy at 6pm on a Friday), and I loved poking around quickly. We headed up to the rooftop of the Met for cocktail hour and the most stunning views of the sunset over Central Park + the city. I loved seeing this view, and it was so picturesque!

I love that we cooked most dinners at their home (the cost of eating out all the time in NYC is no joke!), and I’m continually impressed by their cooking skills and menu selection. We always enjoyed a nice glass of wine (or Maker’s Mark + Coke!) while cooking and devouring meals. I love our endless chatter and great conversations. Oh, and the view from their apartment is unreal! I loved watching the sun begin to set, then the sunset, and then seeing all of the lights emerge around the city.

We headed to the US Open all day Saturday (AHH!!!), and I’ll definitely share more about that very soon!

Sunday was our “day in the life” day in the itinerary! We cooked breakfast together, went to their church (it was fun seeing friends I’ve met before!), and enjoyed a delicious lunch at Shake Shack. Wandering around the Upper East Side, admiring the beautiful homes, poking in adorable shops, and taking it all in is one of my favorite things, and it’s always astonishing how much you end up walking – which is a good thing! We watched a good amount of the US Open on TV, curled up on the couch and just enjoying relaxing time together.

On Monday, we headed to the Tipsy Parson in Chelsea for brunch. I’d seen this adorable cafe in many Instagrams and on blogs, and it was fun to check it out in person. And the food was really great, too! Bridgette and I were also huge fans of their infamous book wallpaper & had to be sure to get a good shot of it. We wandered around Chelsea Market (I could spend so much time here!) and walked along the High Line. I love the unique views and cool history of the High Line, and I almost always visit it when I’m in NYC. We wandered all through the West Village with a destination of Washington Square Park and NYU in mind. My uber-smart sister just started grad school at NYU, and it was a joy being able to see the buildings where her classes are and scope out the school!

Rob had to head to work on Tuesday, but Bridgette and I enjoyed a quiet – but fun – day together before I flew home. We grabbed authentic NYC bagels, which was high on my priority list. I mean, you just can’t beat a hot, toasted everything bagel loaded with cream cheese! We attempted to walk off our bagels as we strolled around their neighborhood and wandered around their local park. After a little more US Open watching and such, we said our goodbyes as I headed home. I am so thankful I’ll be back in NYC for Thanksgiving, though! Two months is long enough to be away from Bridgie, for sure!!

As usual, my visits to New York are always filled with the best people and countless happy adventures and memories. I’m so grateful to Bridgette & Rob for their hospitality and zest for life!! I also can’t wait to share more about the US Open soon, as that was a definite highlight. And NYC, I’ll see you again quite soon!